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Old 12-11-2007, 01:42 PM   #1
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Stucco humidity problem. Help!


I am buying a 1920s tudor single family house in Westchester NY, and several larger patches on the northwall had very high humidity readings on the little humidity meter (70%-90%, in the red zone). Wall surface is stucco. The kitchen sink faces that wall and the 2nd floor bathroom drain should be right along that wall as well.

My question is: what's the likely reason? could it be a leaky pipe? Is opening the wall the only way to find out? Should I replace stucco with something else going forward? How about costs? Something like this, does it sound like a major major issue, or not that big a deal? I am signing the contract this week, so would apprecaite some input. Thanks.

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Old 12-11-2007, 07:21 PM   #2
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Stucco humidity problem. Help!


get a home inspection its the best thing you can do Even as a contractor for 19 years, I still pay $400 for a home inspection when I'm buying.

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Old 12-11-2007, 08:21 PM   #3
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Stucco humidity problem. Help!


Is there a window nearby? Probable leak there. You need to take a variety of meter readings to identify the area and then look close with bright lights. IF that doesn't work then opening the wall is probably the only way. How is the grading of the ground outside? Pitched away from the house?

Is this real stucco or EIFS? I know they didn't have EIFS in the 1920's, but there may have been a remodel in the history of this house.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:20 AM   #4
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Stucco humidity problem. Help!


I paid $500 for the inspection. That's how I got the humidity readings (it's not like a bank clerk like myself keeps one of those humidity meters around). And basically he said he can't find out unless the wall is opened. And of course the seller won't let that happen unless we sign the contract.

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get a home inspection its the best thing you can do Even as a contractor for 19 years, I still pay $400 for a home inspection when I'm buying.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:45 AM   #5
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Stucco humidity problem. Help!


Well there are windows on all four walls. There is indeed a window near the more serious of the 3 humid areas on the wall. Along a 18 feet wall, there are really about 3 places with high readings.

Another thing to take into account is that one of the kitchen faucets has a small leak, which is being fixed by the seller. The house is sort of on a tiny hill (you have to walk up 20-25 stairs to get into the home). The land next to the house and this wall is generaly flat.

I don't know what EIFS is but the seller and inspector both said it was Stucco.

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Is there a window nearby? Probable leak there. You need to take a variety of meter readings to identify the area and then look close with bright lights. IF that doesn't work then opening the wall is probably the only way. How is the grading of the ground outside? Pitched away from the house?

Is this real stucco or EIFS? I know they didn't have EIFS in the 1920's, but there may have been a remodel in the history of this house.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:09 PM   #6
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Stucco humidity problem. Help!


If you know where the readings were taken you might be able to make some educated guesses as to where the moisture initiated from. There can be more then one source in any home, but especially in a house that age.
The higher readings by the window, especially under the window would be a good candidate for inspection. How old is the plumbing? What metal are the pipes? Waste and vent are likely cast iron, but what about the supply pipes? Red brass has a good life span, yellow brass and galvanized, not so much. But even red brass at 80+ years can have fittings issues. Roofing can also cause water in the walls. How's the roof? How old is it? Was ice and water shield installed ?
In older houses without too much insulation in the walls, water will get in higher in the walls, but pool and linger at firestops and at floor level. So just because you get readings there, the actual leak can be above.
Ron

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